Meet South Africa’s first female Audi Master Technician, 25-year-old Chelsea van Wyk.
Van Wyk works at the Audi Somerset West Dealership, where she has won the respect of her colleagues with her positive attitude, hard work and her dedication to her craft in a male dominated industry.
The Eersterivier native took part in the Audi Master Technician Certification programme involving 52 days of training over four to five years. The course covered engine mechanics, engine management, transmission, air-conditioning, running gear and driver assist systems.
She entered the motor industry after coming across an application for a mechanical internship and applied on a whim.
‘I just took a chance, and I’m so glad I did. I was a tomboy in my school years, and I always had male friends. I’m comfortable being surrounded by men in the workshop. You need a bit of a thick skin at times, but it’s easy to handle. There are different personalities in every work environment, and the workshop is no different.’
‘I’ve never been judged or marginalised in the workplace. We have an amazing work environment, where there is a clear acceptance of women’s abilities. Now I have the qualification to back that up,’ she said.
Chelsea studied for her Audi Master and Diagnostic Technician courses while pregnant with her first child, Emma, and also recently got married. She returns from maternity leave freshly qualified and ready to keep making a difference.
Chelsea says her favourite vehicle is the 4.0 twin turbo Audi RS 7, but that she enjoys working on all types of cars.
‘I love working on every one of the Audi models. Each make, and model differs and that keeps me interested in learning more about them.’
Chelsea’s advice to young women interested in entering the field of automotive mechanics is to strive to make their goals a reality, to show courage despite the odds.
‘If you want to be a mechanic, you need to strive for that. Don’t be scared that it’s perceived to be a male-dominated industry. Stay dedicated and stay the course,’ she added.